A gun scare at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night resulted in confusion, panic and a temporary ground stop for flights. Hundreds of people scrambled to the tarmac following false reports of an active shooter.
No Weapon was Found
The incident happened on Thursday, October 28 at about 7.30 pm after there was a report of a person with a firearm in Terminal 1. The airport said in a statement on Twitter that there were no shots fired and no weapons were recovered at the site, however, two people suffered minor to moderate injuries during the self-evacuation.
They were treated by the Los Angeles Fire Department, with one being taken to hospital for treatment. At 7:50 p.m. PT airport officials said police had confirmed there was "no threat and no active shooter" at LAX.
300 Passengers Evacuated Leading to Chaotic Scenes
"At about 7:30 p.m. tonight, there was a report of a person with a firearm in Terminal 1. Approximately 300 passengers self-evacuated from the terminal onto the airfield. Airport police responded and detained one person for further investigation," LAX Airport said in a statement.
The confusion erupted when two men started arguing in the terminal and one of the men was shouting about a gun, a KNBC-TV reporter in Los Angeles tweeted. The Airport authorities had initially reported that one person was taken into custody, but they later clarified that two people were detained. Lt. Karla Rodriguez, an airport police spokesperson, told the Los Angeles Times that both people, taken into custody were men. It is unclear why the two were detained.
False Reports of Man with Gun?
One woman who was in the terminal at the time spoke to KABC and described the panic following the reports of a man with a gun.
"I was like 'what's happening, what's going on?' and they said 'there's an active shooter.' So I packed up my stuff and I ran out, alarms started going off," Chantel Mohn said.
Mohn said the panic started after one person ran into the terminal shouting "active shooter."
"When other people were running, I started running too because my birthday is tomorrow and I'm not trying to die."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reopened the south side of the airfield within one hour of the incident and normal operations resumed just after 9 p.m. However, flights were still affected by residual delays.
Various Cases of Disruptive Passengers
As reported by the Fox News, the incident happened just one day after an American Airlines flight from New York City to Orange County, California, was diverted to Denver after a passenger allegedly assaulted a flight attendant while the plane was in the air. After the plane landed at Denver, the suspect was taken into custody by law enforcement.
There is an unprecedented rise in incidents of unruly behavior from airplane passengers this year. This disruptive behavior has become a serious concern for the airline industry. Opposition to the federal coronavirus mask mandate is a major reason for the spike in unruly behavior.